Everything We Know About Haruki Murakami’s Latest Novel, ‘Killing Commendatore’

what we know about killing commendatore haruki murakamiShinchosha Publishing Co / Haruki Murakami

The long wait for a full-fledged work by Haruki Murakami might be over sooner than we realize, as his latest novel, Killing Commendatorewas released in Japan on February 24, 2017. Although translations of Murakami’s works take time, and there is currently no news of overseas availability, the news of a new full-length novel is a step in the right direction, as it’s been four years since the publication of his last novel, Colorless Tsukuru Taizaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, published in 2013.

Murakami is extremely popular not only in Japan but worldwide, so it’s no wonder that his newest novel is causing excitement for fans everywhere. In fact, the anticipation for Killing Commendatore in Japan has caused quite a stir. According to the Japan Times, booksellers made exceptions to allow fans to purchase books early. Expectations for the book were so high that Shinchosha Publishing Company printed over one million copies of volumes one and two of the new novel.

A Shinchosha spokeswoman said 500,000 copies each of the books totaling 1 million were printed in its first edition. Also, 200,000 copies of the first volume and 100,000 copies of the second were already reprinted before it went on sale.

The novel consists of two volumes in Japanese and titled: Appearing Idea and Changing Metaphor. As 1Q84 was originally three volumes—its English edition almost 1,000 pages—we can expect Killing Commendatore to be pretty long when it’s finally translated.

Although not much is known about Murakami’s latest work, Nippon offers a glimpse at what the novel is about.

The story revolves around an unnamed protagonist, a painter specializing in portraits. Separated from his wife, he is living temporarily in an old house belonging to a famed artist named Amada Tomohiko, whose son is a friend from art school. Amada—92 years old and suffering from dementia—is being looked after in a distant care facility.

The narrator sometimes hears faint rustling noises at night from the attic. Concerned that there might be rats, he takes a flashlight to investigate. He discovers an owl, but that is not all. Beside the entrance, he also finds a large painting wrapped in brown paper. An attached label identifies it as Killing Commendatore, an undiscovered work by Amada that places a bloody scene from Don Giovanni in ancient Japan.

Written in Murakami’s typical concise, yet witty style, it’s clear from what we know about Killing Commendatore that he maintains elements of magical realism and fantasy within his newest work.


To hold fans over for the time being, we’ve been given an exclusive detailed look at the design and cover art for Killing Commendatore, along with the motivations behind its simple design.

While it might be a long wait before we see his latest work translated into English, Murakami fans will have a few opportunities to satiate their hunger—his latest short story collection, Men Without Women, has been translated and is set to release on May 9, 2017.

How excited are you to hear we’ll be getting more from Haruki Murakami this year?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links and if you make a purchase after clicking on our links Paperback Paris will receive a small commission.

Melissa Ratcliff
the authorMelissa Ratcliff
Senior Staff Writer
Reader, Writer & Translator. Cats, books and video games are my life.